Summer News Highlights MayJuneJulyAugust
The body of missing student Ryan M. Davis ’10 was found in Skinner State Park, a 390-acre area on the top of Mount Holyoke, on May 26. He was 20. Davis had been missing since March 31 and was last seen on the Mt. Holyoke College campus. Davis withdrew from classes at MIT on March 13, one day after an incident at East Campus, in which police responded to the discovery of an unknown device which was releasing chlorine gas in East Campus’ basement hobby shop. He was questioned by campus police and consented to a search of his room, during which the police discovered an assortment of drugs and chemicals. Davis was arrested on Thursday, March 15, charged with two misdemeanor counts of possession of a class B controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, and one felony count of possession of a class B controlled substance with intent to distribute.
Over 2,100 students received degrees during MIT’s 141st Commencement in front of approximately 10,000 guests, including members of the 50-year reunion Class of 1957. The Class of 2007 presented MIT with the Senior Gift, a check for $26,861 that will go toward the newly-established Class of 2007 study abroad fund and other MIT groups and funds. Alumni Association President Martin Y. Tang GM ’72 contributed $15,000 because of the record 52 percent participation rate for the Senior Gift. The record was previously 51 percent, set by the Class of 2006 last year. Former MIT President Charles M. Vest, president-elect of the National Academy of Engineering, gave the Commencement address.
The Recording Industry Association of America filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on behalf of 11 recording companies against eight defendants at MIT. The lawsuit followed 23 pre-litigation letters that were sent to MIT in May warning recipients that the RIAA could file a lawsuit if they did not settle accusations of copyright infringement outside of court. The eight defendants were identified by their IP addresses and times of alleged infringement. Six of the eight lived in dormitories including Baker House, Burton-Conner, East Campus, MacGregor House, and McCormick Hall. Later in June, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the charges against the user of Baker House IP 188.8.131.52.
Frank L. Douglas resigned after saying that the Institute breached an agreement to continue discussions with Professor James L. Sherley regarding his claims of racial discrimination in the tenure process. Douglas, executive director for the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, said that “as a human being and a minority,” it is difficult for him to accept an environment where the Institute is unable to find a mutually acceptable solution for a problem that “potentially can impact every present and future minority faculty member.”
Twenty students were admitted from the waitlist to the Class of 2011, according to Interim Director of Admissions Stuart Schmill. This was the second year that students were admitted off the waitlist since 2002. Despite the resignation of former Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones in April, the admissions office enjoyed a record-breaking year with a yield of 69 percent.
Subway opened in the Lobdell food court after a construction period that “took a lot longer than we had hoped,” according to Richard D. Berlin III, director of Campus Dining.
MIT’s spam filtering software was updated to support “allow” and “deny” lists for the “To:” field of e-mails. The lists override the regular spam scoring and permit all messages to or from a given address to be classified as non-spam (allow lists) or all messages to or from a given address to be classified as spam (deny lists). The new feature does not operate on the “Cc:” header.
James L. Sherley, the African American associate professor who went on a 12-day hunger strike in February to protest his tenure denial, faced locked doors when he attempted to work in his laboratory in an effort to resist the June 30 end of his employment.
Bernard Loyd ’83 withdrew from activities supporting MIT on July 2 in protest of the Institute’s handling of the tenure case of James L. Sherley. Loyd, an African American alumnus and former MIT Corporation trustee, said he could not in good conscience tell young African Americans that MIT was the place for them following what he described as MIT’s bungling of the Sherley case.
Senior James T. Albrecht ’08 died from injuries sustained in a fall from the roof of a five-story apartment building in New York City. Albrecht was the president of Baker House, vice president-elect of the Dormitory Council, and a teaching assistant for the spring term’s Differential Equations (18.03) course.
President Susan Hockfield enjoyed a brief moment in the limelight as a possible candidate for The Wall Street Journal’s new five-member editorial independence committee, The Journal reported in July. The board, proposed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. as a way to preserve the Journal’s journalistic integrity after it was acquired by News Corp., now includes Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab.
New Dean for Graduate Students Steven R. Lerman ’72 officially took over from Isaac M. Colbert, who stepped down from the position after eight years as Dean. Lerman, a civil and environmental engineering professor, was chosen from an unranked list of viable candidates provided by the Search Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor of Management Stephen C. Graves.
New Dean of Engineering Subra Suresh PhD ’81, professor in the Department of Material Science and Engineering, replaced Institute Professor Thomas L. Magnanti, who had been dean since 1999.
The new MIT Federal Credit Union branch opened in the former Game Room on the first floor of the Student Center.
John J. Donovan Sr., a former Sloan School of Management professor, was found guilty of filing a false police report. Donovan staged his own shooting in Dec. 2005 and framed one of his sons for the crime. The shooting occurred in the Vassar Street parking lot of his company Cambridge Executive Enterprises, adjacent to Simmons Hall. Donovan was ordered to serve two years on probation, pay a $625 fine, and perform 200 hours of community service, according to the Associated Press.
Approximately 2,000 students chose to pay for summer access to the Zesiger Center and other Department of Athletics and Physical Education facilities, with 1,707 students paying $40 for the entire summer. DAPER instituted the fee for the first time this summer; during the term — and in recent years, during the summer — access to athletics facilities has been paid for by the mandatory Student Activities Fee.
MIT slipped from fourth to seventh in this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of undergraduate schools. Ranked ahead of MIT are Princeton University, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the California Institute of Technology, respectively.
Compiled by Marissa Vogt